We are living in an exciting and critical historical moment on the planet with respect to leadership and social change, one that demands an influx of informed, visionary leaders to address the opportunities and challenges the world is facing today. The women, leadership, and social change (WLSC) minor at Mills responds to this challenge by building informed leaders. Students have the opportunity to apply feminist and critical race scholarship in the context of working with communities for social change. Housed in the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies department, this minor combines curriculum with community internships to support students in making firm connections between their academic work and their social change passions.
Course offerings for the WLSC minor are interdisciplinary. With an approach that is both theoretical and experiential, the WLSC minor is designed to ground learning within action, allowing students to work directly on issues they care about as they move through the program. The WLSC minor complements a wide range of majors. It grows out of the perspective that our society needs people in every sector—education, business, medicine, technology, art, etc.—who have been trained to think and operate from a social justice perspective. Thus, the WLSC minor builds a bridge between each student’s academic work and their passions to affect positive social change within their areas of interest, and also provides a strong foundation for graduate work in a number of different disciplines.
Students enrolled in the WLSC minor take two required courses, one for-credit internship and three electives covering a wide range of disciplines. An understanding of social change leadership as a discipline and a practice is grounded through ETHS 011, Leadership for Social Change. Theory is put into practice in the through a community internship, which can also satisfy the core curriculum requirement for Community Engagement. Lastly, the course US Literature and Social Change presents a survey of social change movements through the lens of the social text, and teaches writing skills for use as a tool for social change.
The interconnectedness of our world today calls on leaders to be lifelong learners, ever striving to increase their knowledge and skills. The WLSC minor provides solid ground for developing and building a learner’s mind and for equipping students to effect positive social change as they move through the process.
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